(Originally published on Bike Darlington - The Darlington Cycling Campaign blog.)
Today we became a seven-bike family (four of them are mine). My wife got a free bike from her brother which has been sat in his garage for a couple of years. It fits her and is serviceable enough, although it's not the best bike in the world.
Since she wanted to be able to take out youngest around and about on it, we were thinking of a rack-mounted child seat, but when we was Halfords were selling the two-child trailer for 30% off, we bought that instead. This has the advantage that we can fit both kids in, as well as shopping and toys, and it seems pretty waterproof. It also converts very easily into a pushchair, which will come in useful.
We've had a play with it in the street, but not taken it on a longer ride yet. Once we put four stone of children in you can feel it but it's much easier to pull than riding a bike with heavy panniers fitted, which is what I expect a seat would feel like.
Tomorrow is the big test, when she takes out eldest to the town centre. Thinking about the route has shown to us again that there are still major gaps in the cycle network; pavements will be ridden on at times. If "The Magnet problem" is ever solved we will have an almost traffic-free route from home to town, but for now when faced with a choice between riding on a badly laid out bit of road with the cars or on the pavement we'll be choosing the pavement option I'm afraid.
So, that's the new purchase, what's the sale? Our car. We hardly use it but it costs us a fortune, so a week on Saturday it will make its final journey with us, to some friends in Leeds who are buying it off us. After that we will be car-free.
We've been lucky in that we made decisions which mean we had already minimised our car use: we chose to buy a house close to our family, I only applied for jobs I could get to on public transport, we live near to local shops (and only a ten minute walk from Asda), and we tend not to drive unless we have to. We'll see how it goes, and will report back here.